Not a day goes by without someone talking to me about machine learning, AI and bots. There is a lot of hype around around machine learning and AI, some negative and some positive. There is often talk that AI will replace the workforce, but I believe if you look at it in context, AI and machine learning will in fact help you and not replace you.

First of all, the perception that to derive benefit AI or machine learning you have to be a data scientist or programmer is incorrect. In fact AI and machine learning is embedded in many of the applications we use today in our consumer and business lives. We are using it more and more each day without realising it.

Let's consider the office of finance. Essentially AI and machine learning can help you automate all of the mundane low value tasks you are performing on a day to day basis, allowing you to perform high value tasks. AI and machine learning are embedded into supply chain applications, ERP applications, planning and consolidations and analytic applications. Your challenge is educating your self on the possibilities this technology can play in your work life.

Take for example account reconciliation in the financial consolidation process; let the machine learn your rules and do the mundane task or reconciling all of the transactions. You are only interested in the anomalies so you can use human judgement to take action. In the forecasting process, why not let a machine generate the narrative for variance analysis and present that to you so you can take actions and make decisions rather than waste time producing variance analysis. These just hint at some capabilities are possible today.

So I think the fictional robots that will replace us are best left for Tony Stark or the Transformers and Hollywood films, but I encourage you to strongly consider how technology like AI and machine learning can make a profound impact on what you do at work. In fact, I would even challenge you and say if you have not already, why not?

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